Merseyside’s lockdown rule breakers who were taken to court

These are some of the people who have been prosecuted for not following the rules set out under lockdown.

The Coronavirus Act 2020 received Royal Assent on March 25 last year, and the measures came into force the following day.

Although the majority of the population adhered to the unprecedented restrictions which were put in place to save lives, a minority did not.

READ MORE: Dad in disbelief after going to stranger’s house to pick up £300 his daughter lost

The list of rule breakers includes a pub landlord, gym boss, a football coach as well as ordinary members of the public.

The majority of Covid-19 related restrictions will come to an end in England from July 19, which has been dubbed Freedom Day.

The pub landlord

David Lowry was fined more than £2,000 for letting 40 people watch an Everton match at the Queen’s Arms during lockdown.

Police broke up a gathering at the pub in Blacklow Brow on the evening of November 28 last year after receiving reports that it had remained open despite lockdown rules.

At the time, pubs were required to close due to rising levels of Covid-19 in the country, but landlord David Lowry, then 66, had allowed a large group to watch Everton play Leeds United at the Queen’s Arms.

According to a statement from PC Paul Morris submitted to Wirral Magistrates’ Court, officers arrived at the pub at 7.10pm and could hear “loud voices within the premises”.

PC Morris said: “There were lights on within, although the doors were closed. There were signs on the front windows that the pub was closed due to Covid.”

In a behind-closed-doors hearing on April 30, Lowry, who lived above the pub, was found guilty of allowing his pub to remain open and continuing to provide food and drink on November 28 in breach of lockdown restrictions and fined £2,200.

Details of the hearing emerged last month.

The football coach

Richard Anderson, was found by police setting up his coaching session on the AstroTurf pitches at Lifestyles in Garston on the afternoon of January 19 this year.

According to a witness statement from PC Jordan Royle, Liverpool City Watch officers had seen Anderson running training sessions at Lifestyles several times over the previous week with up to 12 children aged between eight and 12 taking part.

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At the time, the country was in its third lockdown and children’s sport was banned in order to stop people gathering outside. The council had also closed its sports facilities.

Anderson 43, of South Road in Cressington, was fined £1,173 and ordered to pay another £217 in court costs and charges, giving a total of £1,390. The hearing took place at Wirral Magistrates on June 25.

ASDA shoppers

James Heckingbottom and Lee Round had both been seen shopping at the Huyton ASDA without face masks on January 26.

Both men were found not wearing masks while in the supermarket, which had previously been warned by Knowsley Council’s director of public health after environmental health officers identified a lack of social distancing measures and mask wearing in August 2020.

PC Daniel Parr told Wirral Magistrates court how he saw Round, 33, of Lowbridge Court in Garston, “standing at the till paying for his items while not wearing a face covering”.

When PC Parr approached Round, he said that he had an exemption card at home but did not provide any further details. PC Parr told Round that he would be reported for not wearing a mask.

Later the same day, PC Parr returned to the store with PC Paul Bamber to ensure customers were still wearing masks.

Asda in Huyton
Two men had to pay thousands of pounds in fines for not wearing masks in Huyton’s Asda
(Image: Andrew Teebay/Liverpool Echo)

PC Bamber then spotted Heckingbottom, then 20, of Hurst Park Drive in Huyton, “walking towards us not wearing a face covering of any kind”.

When confronted by PC Bamber, Heckingbottom – also known as Jamie Rogers – said “Oh, I’ll put it on now” and pulled his mask down from on top of his head to cover his mouth and nose. He also told officers he had asthma, but did not have an inhaler with him.

Heckingbottom later pleaded guilty and was fined £1,100 for not wearing a mask in a designated place. He was also ordered to pay £100 in costs and a surcharge of £110 towards victim services, resulting in a total fine of £1,390.

Round did not respond to a court summons and was found guilty of the same offence in a behind-closed-doors hearing at Wirral Magistrates’ Court on June 25.

He was fined £1,760 and ordered to pay £276 in costs and court charges, resulting in a total fine of £2,036.

‘Looking for fit fellas’

Louise Whelan, then 29, was stopped in Tollemarche Road, Birkenhead on the evening of May 4 last year during the first national lockdown.

During a hearing at Wirral Magistrates PC David Cullen revealed details of his conversation with Whelan.

He said: “I asked her why they had been to Liverpool to which she stated: ‘I was just trying to see some fella’.

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“She went on to say that she had had some problems in Wirral and that Liverpool had loads of ‘fit fellas’ and that she was driving around trying to find some.

“I pointed out to her that this was not a valid reason to be out to which she replied: ‘I wasn’t even going shopping that was a lie.’”

Whelan’s comments came to light following the release of witness statements relating to cases heard under the single justice procedure, which allows a lone magistrate sitting in private to decide cases without lawyers or defendants present.

In a private hearing, magistrate Gordon Roberts found Whelan, of Rankin Street, Poulton, guilty of leaving her residence without reasonable excuse during the emergency period and fined her £220.

Mr Roberts also ordered her to pay £85 in costs and £34 as a surcharge for victims’ services, bringing her total fine to £339.

Gym owner

In February dramatic footage emerged of a major police operation at the Prophecy Performance Centre in Speke.

Videos appeared online showed owner owner Nathan de Asha being taken to the ground by officers.

Nathan De Asha leaving Liverpool Magistrates' Court
Nathan De Asha leaving Liverpool Magistrates’ Court

The raid took place after police received several reports that the gym was open when it should have been closed due to lockdown.

CCTV footage of Mr De Asha appearing to be kicked by officers and pinned to the ground as he was arrested was during a hearing at Sefton Magistrates court in February.

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Mr De Asha claimed officers used CS spray and batons on about 23 members as they left the gym.

District Judge Healey ordered the gym to close for seven weeks. Police had said a total of 50 people had been issued with fines following the raid in February.

PC called a ‘b***end” and k***head’

Jake Stanley, of Armley Road, Anfield, and Shaun O’Brien, of Wychwood Close, Knotty Ash, were both stopped by PC John Morgan on May 5, 2020 while standing around in a small group on Wulstan Street, Kirkdale.

On this occasion, he saw Stanley, then 18, and O’Brien, then 19, with another man and told them to go home, only to be met with “a foul torrent of abuse ” in which the teenagers called him “f***ing grass”, “b***end” and “k***head”.

The group ran off, but PC Morgan found them 15 minutes later in Pincroft Way, cautioned them and said he would be reporting them for breaching the Coronavirus Act.

PC Morgan said in his statement: “I was again met with a torrent of abuse and excuses, with O’Brien also saying ‘We’ve only come here for a ciggy’.”

Stanley’s case was dealt with on September 29, when magistrate Gordon John Roberts decided he was guilty and fined him £220, plus £85 in costs and a £34 surcharge for victim services.

O’Brien’s case was heard a month later, on October 27, Ms Walker-Shelton fined O’Brien £770, plus another £100 in costs and £77 towards victim services.

All-day house party

Jamie Sparrow told police he could “do what he wants” after throwing an all-day house party during lockdown.

Sparrow, 28, was told by officers to break up the party at his home on Princess Avenue, Kearsley, Bolton on April 15, after a nurse living on the same street reported it to police.

According to a report from the Manchester Evening News, when police arrived they found six people from different households enjoying a barbecue and drinking alcohol.

Jamie Sparrow and Helen Bent having a laugh leaving court
Jamie Sparrow and Helen Bent having a laugh leaving court
(Image: MEN)

Police had been called to the party earlier in the day but despite an initial warning, the party continued late into the evening.

When officers returned at 11pm, they found six people still inside the house – including a young child.

A disturbance then broke out in the street after Sparrow’s next door neighbour Helen Bent, 32, directed a torrent of abuse at the woman who had complained.

The pair pleaded guilty to charges of a breach of peace and contravening a requirement as to restriction of movement.

District Judge John McGarva lamented them for “flagrantly ignoring” social distancing measures.

Bent and Sparrow were fined £120 and £250 respectively and ordered to pay £119 in costs.

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